Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gene Moore and His Magical Windows




The holidays are almost here, and store window dressers everywhere are gearing up to wow holiday shoppers. Shop windows will be bedecked, festooned, decorated, and fluffed with vignettes that are fantastical, edgy, traditional, and magical. So I thought it was a fitting time to show the work of Gene Moore- truly the most famous of all window dressers (or as the New York Times called him, a window display artist. This might be a more appropriate term.) Moore began his career as a window designer for Bonwit Teller, I. Miller, and other legendary department stores in New York. He joined Tiffany & Co. in the 1950s and set the bar for excellence in window display with his amazing mini-sets. Moore's windows ranged from the surreal to the sweet. His windows were oftentimes humorous. But most importantly they were never boring. Oh, and the merchandise that was featured was never overshadowed by the decoration. Moore struck the right balance between creativity and commerce. I suppose that might be why he stayed at Tiffany's for almost 40 years.

Here are some of my favorite images from Windows at Tiffany's: The Art of Gene Moore. The book is chock full of Moore's windows through the years, and I think that many of you will find it quite interesting- even if you are not a window display artist!



A Valentine's window from 1959. The knitted heart was made of red yarn.


I just love the humor of this window, and that trompe l'oeil needlepoint placemat is divine! This vignette was from 1969. Note the classic All-Purpose Wineglass which was designed by Van Day Truex.


The gumdrop watermelon is a perfect backdrop for the fancy jewels. Designed in 1966.


A witty window circa 1965. The partially unzipped zipper frames the simple vase with iris and the gorgeous jewelry perfectly.

Image at top: This window was part of a series of windows with a geometric theme. Moore felt that the sphere would only work with pearls, hence the broken pearl necklace.

16 comments:

  1. His windows really were delightful!

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  2. One of my favorite bits of trivia: Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg all worked on windows with Gene Moore when he was at Bonwit Teller. That's some talented group!

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  3. Aesthete- I wish I had had the chance to see his windows in person!

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  4. Ms. Wis- This was mentioned in the book as well. A talented person who surrounded himself with even more talent!

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  5. I LOVE the gumdrop WATERMELON.....how delectably DELIGHTFUL! Great post!

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  6. Mimilee- I know, how cute was that!!

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  7. jennifer: gosh, he was so inventive! i love the gumdrop watermelon! it's amazing how unexpected and attractive his installations were. timeless!

    ps i have one of the three elephants featured on the cover of my time at tiffany's (gene moore and jay hyams) she's very beautiful. i plan on doing on post on her eventually!

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  8. Paul- Please post about your elephant! I can't recall what the cover of that book looks like. Is the elephant one of Moore's sterling circus figures??

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  9. I have the book in storage somewhere and it's great!

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  10. A- I hope you get reunited with your books soon! :)

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  11. Jennifer -- you are such an expert on all things Tiffany. I love the color and wit of the needlepoint placemat!

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  12. I LOVE this post. I was just at the 'felt club' this weekend and this is really, just what those artists are doing, combining fine art with craft. Truly, multi-disciplinary artistry. the movie 'handmade nation' is getting such great attention, I think because it really is so appealing on so many levels.

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  13. Courtney- I adore that image!
    Megan- I read your post about 'felt club'. V. interesting!

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  14. Ramsay, Edinburgh, Scotland6:20 PM

    What beautiful images - works of art really. I think British display struggles to compete with those Stateside, but one notable exception is Royal grocer Fortnum & Mason on Picadilly, London who always have the most marvellous Christmas window displays.

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  15. His windows are so whimsical and creative.
    I must get this book!

    xo
    Brooke

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  16. i have the book too, and refer to it from time to time. he truly was a creative genius.

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